On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I heard a satirical stand-up comedian say the following (and I’m paraphrasing here): “There are so many different terrorist groups now that we don’t know who to fight any longer. We should let them quarrel among themselves like a knockout round and then fight the winner.”
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I have been asked to give a speech Jan. 20 on the “Risks and Opportunities for the Next Decade for an Island Community,” as part of a speaker series organized by the Heritage Library and Coastal Discovery Museum entitled “Hilton Head in the Modern Era.” (See the ad on page 142).
David Bennett will be the new mayor of Hilton Head Island. With a 2-to-1 margin, this is not a victory, but a mandate.
It was not a coincidence to discover that many of the most respected community leaders representing the most diverse backgrounds one can think of were supporting Bennett’s quest to become mayor. How diverse you ask? How about people in the fields of architecture, arts, banking, business, land development, education, hospitality, media, nonprofits, politics, real estate, religion, sustainability, volunteer groups and world affairs, just to name a few?
I had an opportunity to meet with neurosurgeon Rudy Kachmann recently. After an interesting discussion about the effects of living an unhealthy lifestyle, I invited him to write a column on the topic in place of my regular “Last Call.” I hope you find his information as useful as I did. — Marc Frey
Good lifestyle choices could eliminate most common illnesses.
By Dr. Rudy Kachmann
An estimated 80 or 90 percent of the time our cars are standing idle in the garage, at work or some other place. This is a huge amount of underutilized capital and physical mass.
In all likelihood, the future of personal transportation will challenge not one but two models we take for granted today: personal possession and human beings behind the wheel.
Over 40,000 people die in road accidents each year in the U.S. and human error, not mechanical failure, causes almost all of them.
Advanced technology will soon make it possible for us to enter a vehicle and punch in the destination, then sit back and watch as the car of the future will take off and safely deliver us at the desired arrival point.
With Marc Frey out of the country, this month’s Last Call has transformed into the … LANCE CALL
Last month we asked our readers a question: How can traffic to Hilton Head Island be improved?
The choices were:
- Do nothing.
- Widen the current bridge to the island.
- Build a new bridge to the island.
As a first generation European immigrant, I’m compelled to compare the Old World with the New World.
One of the essential things that attracted me to the U.S. is American optimism — the will to focus on the positive instead of bemoaning the negative, believing that things will look up and we will always find or invent a way to make things better. Isn’t that the soul of America, the spirit which fueled the development of our country in the first place?
Unless you have been living under a rock you know that the 2014 soccer World Cup is in full swing in Brazil.
More than 200 nations compete for a spot for the final 32 teams that make the World Cup qualifications held every four years. The 2014 draw contains soccer superpowers such as Brazil and Italy, tiny countries such as Costa Rica and Ivory Coast and countries one might not expect such as Iran and South Korea.
It’s easy to understand why soccer is the world’s most played and most watched sport. It is the one sport that most closely mirrors real life. It’s full of drama, surprises and injustice. It requires in equal measures a plan and improvisation. It takes a team of 11 players to win; yet outstanding individual contributions make the difference. One moment it can be so exhilarating, whipping a whole nation into a frenzy. The next moment, the mood can swing the other way.
Most of our readers chose to make Hilton Head Island their ZIP code …. or did it choose them?
Sure there are a few rational reasons like the climate, reasonable taxes and low crime rates, but the same qualities are true for many other small towns. Yet there is something in our subconscious that brought us here and attracted people from across the U.S. and the world.
When Charles Fraser first conceived Sea Pines, he thought green before the word green stood for sustainable and not just the color of grass. His vision was to incorporate the beauty of nature into the everyday life experience of its inhabitants and create a human-scaled community in harmony with its environment. He would say, “Respect the things that were here before we came.” In doing so he laid the foundation of what makes our island so unique.
According to Michael Porter (a Harvard business professor, capitalist and registered republican) it’s time to ditch the GDP per capita as the sole measure of well being for a country and pay more attention to the Social Progress Index that measures the livability of all its citizen and is a more comprehensive indicator of well being than the average income per person.
Before analyzing our disappointing ranking of 16th among 132 countries that were included in the study I want to point out why social progress is important: “Social well-being is the foundation of a peaceful, democratic, capitalist society. It is the philosophical foundation on which our nation was built: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all not a few.”
“Smart beta” has become A hot topic in the financial world. It has certainly captured the interest of investors, underwriters and brokers.
According to Morningstar, a quarter of all exchange-traded fund investments in the first 11 months of 2013, over $41 billion, went into funds using smart beta strategies.
So what exactly is “smart beta?” It’s a concept used rather broadly to describe alternate investment strategies, which, proponents claim, address the shortcomings of both traditional managed mutual funds, and unmanaged index fund investments. Not all smart beta strategies are alike, so here’s a brief overview.
Since I’m in a forecasting mood, I took a look at what the future may hold for our own region. It’s not just one thing that will cause the continuous expansion of our region but a number of things that will work in synchronicity.
1. Peace of mind
As the world around us seems to get more turbulent, there is something very reassuring about living in Bluffton, Hilton Head or anywhere in between Beaufort and Savannah. Our world in the Lowcountry seems pretty darn normal, and for once, that is a really good thing.
Can a company, which was started in 2009, has 55 employees and no revenues be worth $19 billion dollars? The answer is YES, and NO depending on how you look at it.
For traditional thinking investors, this valuation defies everything we thought we knew about how to value a company. As a comparison, companies with similar market valuation include: HJ Heinz, CBS, Yahoo!, PG&E, Charles Schwab, Marathon Oil, Allstate, Kellogg, T. Rowe Price, Sun Trust to name a few. Mostly companies with strong brands that have been around for a long time and have a proven track record.
After a gut wrenching recession, and the collapse of a property bubble that had concentrat ed the small county’s wealth into a highly leveraged real estate sector, Ireland, theCeltic Tiger, was forced to ask for a bailout in 2012, as well as to adopt a painful EU mandat ed austerity budget.
However, there are signs of a turnaround; in 2013 the Irish stock market gained 35.2%, making it the fifth best performing market in the world (the U.S. was ninth.) While it’s still early days, there may be worthwhile opportunity for investors to consider as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this month.